WXXI AM News

Memorial Art Gallery

MAG's Mucha exhibit deeper than decorative arts

Oct 30, 2019
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Whenever museums or galleries host large-scale exhibitions of work by household-name master artists, they're faced with the challenge of making the show into more than a dazzling display of familiar beauty. Sure, the draw of seeing works created by the actual hands of immortalized artists is enough to pull the public through the doors, but that's not enough for the delightful nerds who become curators, nor many of the delightful nerds in the audience.

Tianna Manon/WXXI News

There’s a new partnership in an effort to bring a strong, multi-media focus on the life of Frederick Douglass. The famed abolitionist, who spent years in Rochester and published his anti-slavery newspaper The North Star here, has been honored over the last year, to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Now, the Memorial Art Gallery, the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee and St. John Fisher College are working together to bring even more attention to Douglass’s life and what he stood for.

Memorial Art Gallery

The Memorial Art Gallery already has three Monet’s, and one of those paintings relates to the series the famed French impressionist did of Waterloo Bridge over a period of years. And now, the MAG has seven more Waterloo Bridge paintings on loan for an exhibition that opened last weekend.

MAG Director Jonathan Binstock says the Waterloo Bridge series really offers museum patrons a firsthand experience of what impressionism is all about.

“What it affords is this opportunity to really get into Monet’s most important contribution, which is his understanding of and ability to render light and atmosphere. Monet was an impressionist; he was interested in the effect of light on the atmosphere," Binstock told WXXI News.

Memorial Art Gallery

An empty space created by the removal of a well known sculpture at the Centennial Sculpture Park at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester wasn’t empty for long.

On Thursday, workers moved a bronze sculpture into the spot where a limestone version of that statue had stood for several years.

Jeanne Fisher / WXXI News

If you drive or walk by the Memorial Art Gallery on University Avenue near Goodman Street on a regular basis you may notice a change taking place. On Tuesday, workers, using a crane, began removing one of the large limestone sculptures.

It’s one of the figures created by artist Tom Otterness at the gallery’s Centennial Sculpture Park.  Several years ago, Otterness  created two figures at the entrance to the sculpture park-- a female sculptor who is carving a male figure from a block of stone.

Memorial Art Gallery/Gift of Rosamond Tota, daughter

Eight years ago, Jessica Marten – Curator in Charge/Curator of American Art at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery – was poking around among the paintings in a museum storage space when a small piece caught her eye.

It was many things. The artist’s medium, egg tempera and gold leaf, suggested medieval paintings, and the illuminated manuscripts of monks. The extensive use of borders is what might be seen on a tapestry. And the central figure looked like an image from Frida Kahlo: A woman in pain, clutching her head. Her eyes are bleeding.

WXXI TV

An iconic figure in the art world, both in Rochester and around the world has died.

Wendell Castle died in his Scottsville home on Saturday. That word came Sunday morning from RIT, where Castle was an artist in residence. He was 85 years old.

Wendell Castle was an artist for more than 60 years and is considered a founder of the American Crafts and Art Furniture movements. More than 100  of his works are installed in museums worldwide, and up until recently, was still innovating in his studio in the Rochester area.

Are you missing a portrait of an ancestor? Or maybe a dulcimer? How about a colonial South American bookstand? They might be at the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG)! More than 600 mystery items are waiting to be claimed at the MAG. They aren’t part of the museum’s collection and the MAG’s curators don’t know how they ended up there, despite years of analysis. So now, the MAG is asking for your help, and it’s invoking a new state law that helps museums manage undocumented items.

We talk about a handful of those items, we explore their possible origins, and we’ll discuss what could happen to them next. Our sleuths in studio: 

  • Jess Marten, curator in charge, and curator of American art at the Memorial Art Gallery
  • Kerry Schauber, curatorial research assistant at the Memorial Art Gallery
  • Nancy Norwood, curator of European art at the Memorial Art Gallery

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

An artist well known not only in Rochester, but around the world, has a new exhibit which opens Sunday at the Memorial Art Gallery. 

The show is called “Wendell Castle Remastered”, and it features around 40 works of art  from Wendell Castle, a master furniture maker and sculptor who is now in the 6th decade of his career. The show is in a renovated space at the MAG.

The Memorial Art Gallery is exploring new ways to create provocative portraits of subjects, and in its current exhibition, it’s using video. The MAG is partnering with renowned video artist Charles Atlas on a video installation called “Here she is...v1,” featuring iconic drag performer Lady Bunny.

We discuss the exhibit and talk about the impact of the moving image. Our guests:

  • Charles Atlas, film and video artist
  • Jonathan Binstock, director of the Memorial Art Gallery
  • John Hanhardt, consulting senior curator of media arts at the Memorial Art Gallery
  • Douglas Crimp, professor of art history at the University of Rochester

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